"One of the best pure hitters I’ve seen,” said a New Jersey Prep A baseball coach, probably after an afternoon of sweet swings and screaming line drives. Coming to Peddie from Haverford in the fall of 1988 seeking a fresh start as a student and athlete, Brad made an immediate mark, becoming first a fiery sixth man on the basketball team, an immediate All-Prep outfielder roaming Thompson Field, and by graduation, a confident young gentleman.
Blessed with a laser arm, Brad threw out several runners the first time through the prep school schedule. No one ran on Brad after that, though everyone, Peddie players and opponents too, looked forward to his dazzling throws during pre-game drills. Rarely did anyone attempt to go to third on a single to Brad, and no one ever tagged up to advance on a fly ball.
When Brad joked during warm-ups one day in practice, as an Air Force cargo jet made a slow sweep over Peddie, “Hey Coach! Want me to knock it down?” no one on the team thought his swagger ridiculous.
Not only was Brad a respected teammate and terrific player, he also knew that he was the best player on the team and on the field. However, he knew this in the way that a player is supposed to understand his talents and responsibilities, always wanting the ball hit to him, always wanting to be at the plate in a crucial moment. His junior year, Brad batted .419, with a slugging percentage of .558, outstanding numbers in a 10-4 season, but he performed best when the challenge was clear: on a midseason doubleheader sweep of a strong Lawrenceville team, Brad went 6 for 8 with a pair of doubles and a home run.
Brad’s senior year performance was even stronger, for everyone knew who he was. During the first half of the season, when no pitcher gave him anything over the plate, he remained patient, learning how to drive the outside pitch to the opposite field, and taking pride in doing so. Later, when Frank Moran ’90 and Peter McClellan ’90 started to heat up, Brad saw better pitches, and extra-base hits came in bunches. Brad finished the year batting .414, with five doubles, three triples, one home run, and nine walks. The statistic that reveals his focus, patience, talent, and knowledge of the game is his senior season strikeout total: one.
After Peddie, Brad continued his baseball career for four years at the University of Alabama, batting second on a good team in the nation’s best baseball conference. His status in the Peddie Hall of Fame might be marked with this footnote: he is the only player in memory who forced a change in the ground rules at Thompson Field: his screaming line drives to right field made it necessary to declare any ball that rolled out onto Etra Road a ground rule home run, a real possibility anytime Brad came to bat. The Hall is proud to honor Brad Daggett as player who literally changed the game.